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Afghan defense minister escapes assassination - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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KABUL (Reuters) – Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak escaped an assassination attempt on Saturday when gunmen opened fire on his vehicle shortly after he had left the airport by helicopter, the Defense Ministry said.

No one was hurt and the four gunmen — who were wearing military uniforms — were arrested, said ministry spokesman Zahir Azimi, describing the attack as a bungled attempt to assassinate the minister.

&#34The minister is safe. He had already left the airport by helicopter when the attack happened,&#34 he said.

A short time later, another helicopter which was heading to the Panjsher valley to the north of Kabul to collect officials who had been attending a memorial ceremony with Wardak, crash-landed after its rotor hit a tree.

Azimi said nobody was hurt in that incident.

Asked if the incidents were connected, he said he had no additional information.

The attack on the minister”s car came days before parliamentary and provincial elections scheduled for September 18, the next big step in Afghanistan”s difficult path to stability.

The minister traveled to the Panjsher Valley with other officials to attend a ceremony in remembrance of Afghan national hero Ahmad Shah Masood, who was assassinated on September 9, 2001.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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